KAWU, Early Stroke Detector, NileBoda and GoGoPlay Win In Uganda and South Sudan

Telehealth startup, Early Stroke Detector and fintech KAWU were crowned winners of the Uganda leg of the Digital Innovations for Business Resilience in the EAC region while NileBoda and GoGo Play ruled the roost in South Sudan. The four startups bagged $1,000 to further their innovations courtesy of the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA).

Central Teaching Facility (CTF) II at Makerere University was the venue for the Uganda National Pitch Event on Saturday

 Early Stroke Detector, led by Keith Richard Kwagala, is a startup that is building a device that detects stroke. The device monitors the movement of waves in the carotid artery and if there is a slight change in the pattern of waves, the user and the next of kin will be notified. Annually, 15m people suffer from stroke. Of these, 5m die and a further 5m are left permanently disabled. This is why this startup received strong backing from the judges.

Early Stroke Detector Team Leader, Keith Richard Kwagala during his pitch (L) and receiving a dummy cheque from IUCEA’s Ben Ruhinda with his teammate Sidney (R) after emerging as winners

 On the other hand, KAWU (loosely translated as brokenness) is a fintech that is looking to bring financial inclusion to the millions of students that are enrolled at any level of education in Uganda. The startup, led by Steven Kakooza, has a card that a parent can top-up anytime, anywhere and the student will receive the money. The student can then withdraw their money from a teacher who scans the card. Whereas Mobile Money could have solved this, it is illegal to carry phones in almost all schools in Uganda.

Steven Kakooza convinces the judge of his innovation, KAWU(L) and on the right, receives a dummy cheque from IUCEA’a Ben Ruhinda

In South Sudan, NileBoda and GoGo Play emerged as winners. NileBoda is a ride-hailing startup that connects riders to motorcyclists in Juba. Ride-hailing has grown tremendously in various cities in Africa, and the team led by Suzanne Gedeon wants to add Juba to the list of these cities. 

The South Sudan National Pitch Event was held at the University of Juba Main Auditorium

GoGo Play is a a video on-demand streaming service that will showcase South Sudanese content from music, movies and comedy to reality shows and live events. GoGo Play is led by Rachel Hakim, a student at Kampala University Juba Branch.

The two winning teams from South Sudan GoGo Play and NileBoda celebrate after receiving their dummy cheques from IUCEA

The National Pitch Event for Uganda was held at the Central Teaching Facility (CTF) II in Makerere University on Saturday 26th March 2022 and it came at the end of a week-long boot camp at the Makerere Innovation and Incubation Centre (MIIC). Only the top 10 startups were invited to this Bootcamp from the over 270 innovators that applied.

For South Sudan, which was also held simultaneously, the BootCamp took place at Junub Open Space while the national pitch event was held at the Main Auditorium at the University of Juba. Kenya and Rwanda will follow from 28th March up to 2nd April 2022 with Burundi and Tanzania wrapping up the Bootcamp and national pitch events phase from 4th April to 9th April 2022. The top two teams from each country will compete at the regional finals for a share of $10,000 in grants.

About the Program

Digital Skills for an Innovative East African Industry (dSkills@EA) is a project as part of the technical development cooperation between the German Government under the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the East African Community (EAC) Secretariat.

The project is implemented by the Inter-University Council of East Africa (IUCEA) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), together with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the East African-German academic consortium led by the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) and the University of Oldenburg (UOL) together with its partners the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), the University of Technology and Arts Byumba (UTAB), the University of Applied Sciences Mannheim and the German Aerospace Center (DLR).